market prices

Small-scale producers in Côte d'Ivoire manage international markets via SMS

The below is content from a FrontlineSMS Community Forum blog post, by FrontlineSMS user Julien Gonnet.

RONGEAD is a non profit organisation in Côte d'Ivoire which helps facilitate small producers in Africa  to gain better access to markets. In Côte d'Ivoire they transmit information on the cashew market via SMS. This is a big job, considering Cote d'Ivoire is the second largest exporter of raw cashews, generating incomes for approximately 250,000 producers. RONGEAD are regularly in contact with producers of cashews in five regions of the country, and they use FrontlineSMS to send 3,000 SMS every week providing up to date information on market prices. In addition they provide valuable training and educational materials.

Julien Gonnet, of RONGEAD, recently shared details on our FrontlineSMS community forum about how they have set up a project to enable more than 8000 producers and 250 peasant leaders to have access to the information, tools, knowledge and skills which can help to enhance and secure revenue sources. The project involves "creation of a proactive network of shared knowledge of the world market for cashew value chain in Cote d'Ivoire."

This project has thus far provided five training modules for the producers and peasant leaders. The training modules address particular descriptions of the industry (covering main actors and relationships), an explanation for the formation and evolution of the price (including information on changes in supply and demand), and guidance on market decision making, such as when to sell and how to store goods effectively. A dozen educational materials - as shown in images here - have been developed during the project, including a role play!

At the level of information dissemination, each week, a market analysis is performed by relevant two specialists in the sector in Côte d'Ivoire and France. These summaries are released in a variety of ways, including as an electronic newsletter, though local radio and through 3000 SMS, differentiated by region, sent each week by FrontlineSMS.

This RONGEAD project has caused a great excitement, by providing accessible to information and training. Plus it has helped create relationships of solidarity between local producers. In the past relationships have been diminished following the stigma affecting certain cooperatives, and the climate of suspicion within a sector perceived as opaque and unstructured. Therefore,  it is good to find positive projects which counteract this.

Julien points out that the objective of RONGEAD's project is not "simply to disseminate collected prices, but add elements of market understanding." As he explains "it is necessary to assist producers receiving the information to promote their own decision making and avoid counter-productive misunderstandings."

To learn more about the work of RONGEAD visit their website:

Please feel free to join the FrontlineSMS Community Forum to connect with other FrontlineSMS users, and share details of how you are using FrontlineSMS too!

On a mission to aid farmers in Latin America

This is the eleventh in our series of FrontlineSMS guest posts. Here, Jorge Alonso - a veterinarian turned ICT4D practitioner - discusses his thoughts on the application of the software in agriculture in Latin America Jorge Alonso"I am a veterinarian by qualification but, as often happens in life, ended up working with information and communication technologies... applied to agriculture. And I have no regrets. For some time I have been interested in the application of technology in agriculture, and these days I am particularly excited by the potential of mobile technologies in helping small producers improve the marketing of their products.

Over the past ten years I have managed a regional potato network (in Spanish). As its content manager my duties included searching for useful information to distribute among subscribers, and it was here that I first came across FrontlineSMS. My first, initial thought was how it could be used to spread potato prices among my group.

Since last year I have been thinking more about how FrontlineSMS could help small-holder farmers in San Juan, my province here in Argentina. I participated in two e-forums organized by FAO on Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas (which were held in both Spanish and English) and I paid particular interest to the experiences of participants using text messaging in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It was a hugely beneficial exercise, and I think I found what I was looking for.

Diagram: Jorge Alonso

Based on the findings of my research I designed a process through which small producers could exchange information by SMS with organisations, with the end result being improvement in the marketing of their produce. What do organisations need to do this? A computer, a cell phone (or modem) and a copy of FrontlineSMS. Most organizations have a computer and cell phone. According to recent statistics, in Argentina there are 102.2 mobiles phones per 100 habitants. What's more, 91% of mobile users in the lower income bracket have used SMS services. Using readily available and familiar technologies, my idea could be adopted by many institutions including associations, co-operatives, NGOs, independent and community radio stations, as well as rural and indigenous organisations.

I recently wrote a comprehensive article in Spanish which talks about mobile telephony, the global food crisis, what makes mobile phone technology so special, experiences in Africa, Asia and America, and finally my proposal in more detail. Please check it out. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Thank you".

Jorge Luis Alonso G. Content Manager Red Electrónica de la Papa (Redepapa)